It’s that time of year again – lots of blogs/articles/news features all about resolutions and fresh starts urging us to opt for ‘New Year, New You!’ personal re-inventions.
My last post wished that 2015 may be your best year yet so over the Christmas break, I’ve been thinking about what it would take for that to happen and I’ve come up with a few ideas I’d like to share with you.
1 Understand your values
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I often talk about values. The thing is, if you don’t know what’s important to you and what really matters, how you can work towards it? If you’d like to know more about your values, try reading this post – ‘our values make us different’.
2 Live your values
One of the most common sources of frustration I come across with clients is when they do know what’s important to them but they’re not applying that in their everyday lives. If one of your key values is integrity but you feel that your current role compromises that integrity, then it’s no wonder you’re unhappy. To lead a fulfilling and satisfying life, we all need to work out how we can incorporate more of what makes us tick into our days. Living our values turns our existence into a fulfilling and passionate adventure.
3 Choose a theme
Like lots of people, I choose a word (or sometimes more than one) for my year. The word aligns with my values and helps me to keep myself on track when making decisions. For instance, this year’s word is ‘nurture’ so when I’m deciding whether to take on a new project, I can ask myself who it will nurture and how it will be nurturing to help me make the best choices for how I spend my time.
4 Don’t set vague goals
Over dinner or drinks on New Year’s Eve or perhaps New Year’s Day, many conversations no doubt turned to New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not sure that resolutions made under these circumstances are as well thought through as they could be and they are often a little vague. ‘Next year, I’m going to be more confident’ – what does that actually mean? How will you know when you’ve got there? What will you be doing differently when you’re more confident? What will this mean to you? As I’ve said before, I don’t mind which goal-setting process you use, but I’d highly recommend you use one. A useful phrase to bear in mind when you do set your goals is ….
5 … Marginal gains
The British Cycling coach, Sir Dave Brailsford championed the philosophy of marginal gains, saying:
‘If you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by one percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.’
When you set your goals, take a look at each aspect of the goal to see where you can make small tweaks for improvement. For example, if your goal was to bring down your household expenses by £xxx a month, rather than just concentrating on lopping that figure off your supermarket shop, you could look at decreasing your mobile phone costs by £v, your fuel costs by £x, your commuting cost by £y and your grocery bill by £z, all of which will add up to a significant reduction in expenditure.
6 Bounce back
No matter how great your plan, life will inevitably get in the way. There are 365 days this year, nine of which are already almost over: some of those days will be great and you’ll be on track, some will be okay and some of them will be tough days in which things don’t work out the way you want and you feel frustrated with yourself. How you choose to react to those tough days will define how great a year you have. Will you decide you were never really meant to achieve those goals anyway or will you remember that your goals are aligned with your values and therefore definitely within your grasp?
If the latter is the case, then you will see the tough day as a temporary setback and resolve to get back on track.
7 Cutting some slack
As Oliver Burkemen wrote last week, perhaps one of the most effective ways to make this our best ever year is to cut ourselves and others some slack. We are not fictional super heroes imbued with amazing powers to make everything perfect all the time. Some days we just need to give ourselves and each other a break. Be kind.
Today’s pebble for you to consider: which of these ideas will you implement to help you make this your best ever idea? What other methods work for you?
What do you think?